NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Violent Crime Increased When Countries Banned Guns

May 9, 2002

Gun-control advocates conveniently ignore the fact that the countries with the highest homicide rates have gun bans, says researcher John R. Lott Jr. The three worst public shootings in the past year all occurred in Europe, which has enacted everything American gun-control proponents favor.

Around the world, from Australia to England, countries that have recently strengthened gun-control laws with the promise of lowering crime have instead seen violent crime soar.

  • In the four years after the United Kingdom banned handguns in 1996, gun crime rose by an astounding 40 percent.
  • Since Australia's 1996 laws banning most guns and making it a crime to use a gun defensively, armed robberies rose by 51 percent, unarmed robberies by 37 percent, assaults by 24 percent and kidnappings by 43 percent.
  • While murders in Australia fell by 3 percent, manslaughter rose by 16 percent.

Finally, he notes, there exists not one single academic study showing that the federal Brady Act, assault-weapons bans, state waiting periods, background checks, one-gun-a-month rules or safe-storage laws reduce violent crime. Some research even finds that these rules increase crime.

Source: John R. Lott Jr. (American Enterprise Institute), "Gun laws don't reduce crime," USA Today, May 9, 2002.

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